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How I Post



I was asked by a fellow forum member how I write my posts.


I found it very difficult to reply and this is a rather boring reply - but I still love the book Straight and Crooked Thinking and so thought I'd blog my reply!!




How do I post - I'm not really sure - I've been thinking about how to reply and not really getting anywhere other than a rather patronizing sounding laundry list! I've no idea if any of this helps, but its about the best I can do!


I think one of the most important things is that I try as strongly as I can not to be rude or insulting - strong sarcasm is about as bad as I'll get - though Albert Tatlock strains that rule occassionally, and Tameelf is almost beyond the pale!


Emails and forums are not good mediums of communication - there is little opportunity to explain in detail what you meant and if things spiral into a flaming session and "you said this, I said that" vey little works.


I try and qualify my statements - I try not to say "this always happens" I say "this nearly always happens" or "often happens". When I'm reviewing the post it’s these little words that I most often add in. People try and niggle away at over expansive statements and I try hard not to give them that opportunity!


I think I try and keep things simple and on subject - though I do know I'm notorious for long winded posts so that can't be really true! But I think I tend to bang on about a single point and provide evidence that this stance is reasonable until the other side cannot continue to deny it!


I do rely alot on other sources to back up my opinions and link them to show I've a secondary "authority" behind what I'm saying.


I think I have an advantage of being widely read and so can quickly find sources to help me form my arguments - The Economist Magazine, New Scientist, Radio 4 and the BBC are good friends and useful for providing background on alot of the topics that commonly turn up.


One thing I'll recommend to you is a very old, and now slightly dated book! Its called Straight and Crooked Thinking by Robert Henry Thouless. The Amazon reviews sum up my feeling towards this book - life changing is a strong word, but I can still clearly remember reading it and suddenly understanding some of the tricks and biases that people were using when arguing and now knowing how to counter them. Its now out of print, so a bit expensive, and the examples it uses are inter war - white Russians and the Communists! But the points it makes are as valid as ever - sacrifice a couple of meals out and use the money and the time to read the book - you'll remember it more than any meal Douglas can give you!


Definitely do dive in and post - if you are worried about ruining your reputation create someone new - but do post! Its an internet forum so there's little risk and its fun! Even if you get shot down in flames you can revel in their heat!


I get alot of pleasure from the Forums - with a young family the pub is a bit of a distant memory and so getting an opportunity to chew the fat and arm chair theorize is great fun - though the missus thinks I waste far to much time doing it!


Regards and Good luck with your posting!




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